Tall City Nonprofit Could Close Doors

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A non-profit in Midland that aids the intellectually disabled could close if proposed state budget cuts become a reality.

The Executive Director of the non-profit MARC told NewsWest 9 he's never seen anything like this in his 25 years in the business.

The sign outside MARC says "Creating Choices For People With Disabilities".

For 51 years in Midland, they've done just that.

But this year, their doors could be closed for good.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services already cut Medicaid reimbursement for them by 3 percent earlier this year, which translates to a loss of more than $100,000.

Now, if state budget cuts are approved, they could be losing 10 to 30 percent more.

"A 10 percent cut will create a $500,000 deficit in our first year alone," said MARC Executive Director Benjamin Wright. "And those kinds of numbers are gonna create hurdles that I'm not sure we can get over."

MARC employs 138 people and aids 115 people across the Basin.

They have 16 homes across Midland, a vocational center, and the Opportunity Park in Midland, all of which help provide homes, activities, and jobs for the intellectually disabled.

All of that could be gone if just the bare minimum of proposed cuts passes.

Not only that, but non-profits like MARC state-wide will suffer.

"There is approximately 330 organizations in the state of Texas that do what we do, and they're projecting right now that with the 10 percent cut that 25 percent of those organizations will be gone," Wright said.

"What they're contemplating will be a tragedy for the state of Texas," said MARC Board Member and Volunteer Melvin Dunn.

Dunn has volunteered there for more than 10 years. These cuts also hit home for him. He has a child who at one point utilized MARC's services.

"A large number of the people we serve will wind up at home or in a nursing home," Dunn said.

Legislators started meeting to discuss the issue this week, and MARC directors urge West Texans to write to them to stop the cuts that could close them down.

"We cannot balance the budget on the backs of those individuals that are most vulnerable in our community," Wright said.

"The people that are being served by this budget money did not make mistakes," said Dunn. "And yet they are going to suffer dramatically for the mistake that is about to happen."

NewsWest 9 contacted the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services in Austin on Friday for a comment. They said the issue was too premature at the moment to make one, but they did say the vote would happen sometime in May or June.

MARC directors gave NewsWest 9 a list of legislators to write to if you want to make your voice heard on the issue.

Steve Ogden, Texas Senate Finance Chair
(512) 463-0105
steve.ogden@senate.state.tx.us

Senator Kel Seliger
(512) 463-0131
kel.seliger@senate.state.tx.us

Representative Tom Craddick
(512) 463-0500
Tom.Craddick@house.state.tx.us

Representative Jim Pitts
(512) 463-0516
Jim.Pitts@house.state.tx.us

If you'd like to make a donation to MARC, log on to marcinc-tx.org or call Marketing Director Jean Jones at (432) 498-8590.